Seems like it’s hardly been a week since all the Supreme Court rulings and… what’s that? It hasn’t even been a whole week yet?
Time for some deep breaths.
Remember the words of Liberation activist and organizer Mariame Kaba: “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.”
This year, the Supremes made some very big steps toward changing a lot of our freedoms. Repealing Roe v. Wade, waiving Miranda rights, blurring the lines between church and state, and more.
We’re not judges. We’re organizers. We see injustice and we do what we can to end it wherever we see it. PA Stands Up is focused on several things this year. Ending Solitary Confinement in Lehigh and Lackawanna Counties, passing the Whole Home Repairs Act, and making sure our communities can vote safely in free and fair elections in November.
Voting is an integral part of how we operate, but it is not the only thing we can do. Yes, electing transformative candidates is how we continue to be represented by people who will fight for us, but in between elections, it’s up to you and me to fight where we can. Joining one of our regional chapters is the best way to do that, and you’ll get a chance to make a real difference where you live.
Ashleigh, Onah, Lev and the PA Stands Up team
What's happening in Pennsylvania?
Yass Queens: Last week, ProPublica released a detailed profile on PA’s richest person, billionaire Jeffery Yass. The profile goes in-depth talking about how Yass treats tax avoidance as a game. He and his trading firm use sophisticated, and likely illegal tools, to maximize their profits and ensure none of it goes to help working people or our communities. As a hedge fund trader, Yass has learned to hedge his bets by supporting politicians of both political parties to ensure that no matter who wins the election, Yass gets a political ally in office. Notably, Yass has recently contributed $10,000 to Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Shapiro. Back in the spring, Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald returned a $15,000 contribution Yass made to her failed election bid. It’s certainly possible that Shaprio has the opportunity to do the same, but has not yet.
Whole Home Repairs… pending? The last day of the month has come and gone. The day that the senate is supposed to vote on the final version of the state budget. For some of us, our budgets are decided upon by the whole family. For others, it’s more of a sense of dread when opening our bank apps. But when it comes to the state budget, millions of Pennsylvanians’ lives hang in the balance, and we want to know that our elected officials have that on lock.
As we’ve pushed for the budget to represent us, we have seen through our efforts across the state that the Whole Home Repair Act has passed through the house committee and that through our calls to the governor’s office, it shows a real chance of making it into this year’s budget! This is what co-governance looks like! Cross your fingers as you dial! Remember, they work for us.
Christian Nationalism in Lancaster: Two noted Christian Nationalists, who focus on how to impose a narrow view of Christianity into our political moment, were shut down from holding a “discussion” in Lancaster largely due in part to the rapid response from Lancaster Stands Up members and community. The Lancaster organizers have seen massive upswell in people who want to become involved since the recent news and they’re holding an organizing training for new folks on July 7th.
PA Democracy Defense: We’re watching some bills coming out of the State house that would continue to disenfranchise not only voters, but candidates as well. Representative Seth Grove(R), a member known for disastrous takes on voting rights, is pushing for an earlier PA Presidential primary election date which could lead to candidates trying to collect petitions during high holy days in December and possibly disrupt counties that are still recovering after November elections. It will soon land on the Governor’s desk.
That’s why some good news is that hundreds of our members across the state have won their elections to Democratic Precinct Committee People (PCPs) and are working together to boost voter turnout in their neighborhoods and keep people engaged on the issues. We especially want to shout out Heather Mecone, the new Vice Chairwoman of the Scranton Democratic Committee. Mecone was NEPA Stands Up’s member endorsed candidate for county committee in her precinct, which she won in May. To get more involved with a PASU chapter near you, use this link.
Can’t Take A Good Man Down: Three Republican State Legislators have announced plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner due to high crime in the city. While violence and crime are high, the move is essentially a publicity stunt to attack Krasner’s progressive policies. In order for their plan to succeed, the State House would need a majority vote to impeach Krasner and then the State Senate would need a two-thirds vote to convict him and remove him from office. If these unlikely events were to take place, it would be thoroughly against the will of Philadelphia voters who voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Krasner last year.
Ending Solitary Confinement: In Lehigh and Lackawanna Counties, our organizers have kicked off their efforts to gather tens of thousands of signatures to get a referendum on the ballot that would put an end to solitary confinement in our county prisons. You can check out our virtual town hall where we heard from Solitary Survivors about their experiences. It’s going to take all of us to end this torture in PA!
What's happening nationally?
Roe V Wade: We know that our rights to medical choices are now something that will be decided by our neighbors on the ballot in November. In Bethlehem, Lancaster, Reading, Philly and Scranton, our members joined the thousands in the streets last Friday to express our fear and anger. We’ve seen how billionaires like Jeffrey Yass use money to influence our elections, but also money from companies in this lovely landscape of capitalism. Vox.com reports that one complicated aspect of companies now saying they’ll help support workers needing reproductive care is that some of those same companies also played a role in how we got here in the first place. Namely, if you look at their donations, you’ll see plenty have given money to anti-abortion politicians who helped craft the laws they are now fighting against.
UltraViolet has launched a website that tracks corporate giving to anti-abortion candidates or their associated political action committees, and identified hundreds of thousands of dollars from firms such as Nike, Uber, Disney, and AT&T. All now say they’re going to reimburse abortion travel expenses.
It’s not companies that will save us. It’s #UpToUs to make these changes and keep our elected officials true to their promises to codify Roe and end the filibuster.
Jan 6 Hearings: Our members were glued to their screens like sports junkies* this week watching the horrifying new evidence being brought to the January 6th insurrection hearings. The testimony harshly incriminates PA Republican Congressman Scott Perry as complicit in the seditious plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election. While the results of the hearings have not yet been decided, our chapter in the Capitol Region where Perry serves will hold a pre-Independence Day rally to call out Scott Perry's traitorous actions.
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